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by Betty Moore, slfp.com
ST. LOUIS, MO, (slfp.com), September 24, 2019 - It was all smiles and thumbs up as guests attending the preview of the 200-foot-tall The Wheel at St. Louis Union Station were treated to a ride in one of 42 climate-controlled gondolas.
In a conversation while waiting for St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and special guests to arrive, Bob O'Laughlon, CEO, Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM) and owner of St. Louis Union Station Hotel, noted that he was focused on conventions.
"Obviously being in the hotel business, when I thought of this whole project, it was like a Gaylord Opryland Hotel. When a convention comes, they never have to leave. They can enjoy all the activities in the evenings and meet during the day," O'Laughlon said with a big smile.
Taking the podium set up near The Wheel, O'Laughlon, noted that this was just the first phase of redeveloping Union Station. "When we bought Union Station, we wanted to tell the history and how it made St. Louis the third largest city in the United States. So we bought a train and do the Polar Express every year. It serves over 70,000 people from Thanksgiving through the end of the year."
He added that The Wheel fits in because there was a ferris wheel during the 1904 World's Fair at Forest Park in St. Louis.
Mayor Lyda Krewson thanked Bob O'Laughlon and Steve O'Laughlon for having the vision and confidence in making this huge investment in the city of St. Louis. "This is a $190 million project, that includes The Wheel and the buildings around here. Opening at the end of this year will be The St. Louis Aquarium. It will become one of the biggest attractions here in St. Louis."
She added that The Wheel at night is iconic with its light patterns. "I've noticed on social media that everyone is posting their pictures and video. I hope they're not driving while they are taking these pictures," she laughed. "This Wheel sets the momentum we have here in St. Louis."
Each gondola weighs 1,500 lbs. and is six feet long, five feet wide and five feet high. The gondolas hold up to eight people each and a maximum of 1,380 lbs. The Swiss-made gondolas have a glass exterior, interior lights and two-way communication with the operator.
At night, 1.6 million LED lights will illuminate The Wheel and they will be dazzling with different colors and different patterns. The black VIP gondola has glass floors, four leather bucket seats and will be the perfect spot for people to get engagemented, have surprises and celebrate anniversaries 200 feet above St. Louis."
At the top, passengers can see a distance of nearly 20 miles. The ride, open every day of the year, will take 12 to 15 minutes. One rotation takes two minutes.
The St. Louis Wheel opens to the public, September 30, 2019. Tickets - $15 Adults; $10 Children. During the 2019 holiday season, guests on The Polar Express Train Ride can show their ticket to ride the Wheel for the children's price.
Surrounding the St. Louis Wheel, guests can enjoy the new Carousel at St. Louis Union Station. The classic merry-go-round features 30 whimsical animals and two themed chariots. The 36-foot-wide carousel is manufactured by Chance Rides of Wichita, KS. It will open in conjunction with the St. Louis Wheel and will be open seasonally.
St. Louis Union Station Soda Fountain, opening September 30, is situated between the carousel and aquarium. This shop will offer many spins on ice cream sundaes, boozy drinks, phosphate sodas, old-time candy, popcorn with a classic grill making sandwiches and burgers. The atmosphere submerses you into a fifties Soda Fountain with our own creative spin.
The Train Shed - Located in the heart of Union Station, this art deco meets industrial restaurant and bar will showcase St. Louis in the time of our World's Fair. Creative cuisine, pre-prohibition cocktails and a curated selection of craft beer offers something for everyone. (Opening November)
1894 Café - Located on the second floor of Union Station, this casual family-friendly café will facilitate aquarium goers with a great bite and convenience. Unique sandwiches, bright salads and quick snacks, this is a sure stop while at Union Station. (Opening November)
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com) - St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station -The 120,000 square-foot, two story aquarium will be open 365 days of the year from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It will manage more than one million gallons of water. You'll find 13,000 aquatic animals in the water including sharks and rays. The area will also have special spaces for weddings, receptions, dinners and meetings.
Rope Course at Union Station - Do you have what it takes to soar 3-stories up? Test your agility, strength and nerves on our indoor Ropes Course overlooking historic Union Station. With more than 90,000-cubic feet of climbing space and over 45 obstacles, including a 100-foot long SkyRail® and a course specifically designed for the little ones. You are in control of where to go and what to do, making this a sure hit for adventurers of all ages and skill level! (Opening November)
Mirror Maze at Union Station - Experience one of the iconic attractions of the 1904 World's Fair, reimagined in this A-Maze-ing experience for the entire family. Navigate your way through our the labyrinth of mirrors, test your World's Fair knowledge with our interactive experiences, and explore the curiosities in our Fun House. (Opening November)
Mini Golf at Union Station - Perfect for families and beginner golfers, our beautifully-landscaped 18-hole course will feature a variety of interactive elements, a fun yet challenging design and is ADA-accessibility. The 200-ft tall St. Louis Wheel will create the perfect backdrop for family fun!
Carousel at Union Station - Whether creating new memories or re-living those of your childhood, a ride on one of our beautifully-designed horses or exotic animals is sure to delight the young and young-at-heart. Located beneath the historic Union Station train shed, this is an experience you will not want to miss!
St. Louis Union Station - A National Historic Landmark with Memories As Major Rail Hub
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com) - Saint Louis Union Station, a massive, Romanesque-style building, designed by architect Theodore Link in 1894, was once the largest and busiest railroad terminal in the world.
In 1976, the St. Louis Union Station was designated a National Historic Landmark. After an extensive $150 million restoration, the facility, including an expansive 11.5 acre trainshed reopened in 1985 with a hotel, unique marketplace of shops, assortment of fine restaurants and cafes, live entertainment and a lake with boats ... all under one roof.
Today, the Grand Hall features a 65-foot, barrel-vaulted ceiling of unsurpassed fresco and gold leaf detailing, mosaics, Tiffany-designed, stained glass over the entrance, scale models of trains and statues, an award-winning 3-D projection mapping light show, new furnishings and a 65-foot-long bar.
Visitors can discover the Station's past and present with a self-guided walking tour through one of the nation's most significant rail stations and restoration projects by Lodging Hospitality Management, owners of the entire Union Station complex and St. Louis Union Station Hotel, located in what is known as the Headhouse.
Across from Union Station is Aloe Plaza and the magnificent "Meeting of the Waters Fountain, by Carl Milles, with elaborate bronze sculptural pieces representing the meeting of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.
Today, elements of Old Saint Louis remain as Laclede's Landing, a nine - block industrial area that once housed companies producing coffee, leather goods, mattresses, tobacco, whiskey, candy and machinery for the barges. The historic area is located north of the Gateway Arch. At night, horse drawn carriages and live music add to the downtown atmosphere. Nearby, sightseeing excursions and gaming boats offer additional choices for entertainment.
Union Station is located at 1820 Market Street, between 18th and 20th Streets. The historic building is north of I-64 and just four blocks west of Scottrade Center. The landmark is within walking distance of Busch Stadium and the Gateway Arch.
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